Resume Writing 102
Part 2 Formatting (i.e Don’t try to find a new, crazy font to make your resume stand out)
Another important aspect of resume writing is formatting. In my opinion less is better. When you are putting together your customized resume, do not worry about formatting until you have all of the bullet points you think are relevant on the paper. Keep your formatting simple and consistent. In addition, I would avoid using templates. The more formatting you use, the more likely something will accidentally get altered when you submit the resume electronically.
Question: How many bullet points should I have for each job on my resume?
Answer: You do not need to have perfect symmetry with your bullets points – each job does not need to have the same number if bullet points. If your last job was the most relevant; it should have approximately 10 bullet points; for previous and/or non-relevant jobs only 2 bullet points are necessary. Bullet points should be clear and concise. They should be 1-2 lines, not a paragraph. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for the person reading the resume.
Question: How should I format the top of the resume?
Answer: You always want to include your name, phone number and email address. I have actually received resumes that did not have any contact information on them. It has become more and more common to omit an address from the resume but if you are local, I would include the address. If you are applying for jobs out of town, I would use a friend’s local address or omit it. With the exception of executive level positions, you may not get a call back if you have an out of town address. If I receive 10 good resumes and 9 of them are local, I am probably not going to call the 10th because I do not want to deal with having to coordinate the interview with your travel schedule.
The next area is the Objective. I do not think you should have an Objective on the resume because your objective is to get the job you are applying for. In addition, not having an objective frees up space for more bullet points about relevant work experience.
Question: How should I summarize my skills and qualifications?
Answer: My recommendation is that if you are going to include a “Summary of Qualification” section, do not write a paragraph, Use 2-3 very specific bullet points that address the most important elements of the job you are applying. Do not write general comments like “Excellent writing and communication skills” Use this space to summarize your relevant experience. Write things like “Over 7 years of membership experience in an Association environment”.
Question: Which should come first my education or my work experience?
Answer: Unless you know that the degree is the most important thing the employer is looking for, put your work experience first. You want employers to see your relevant work experience first and why you will be of value to them.
Writing a resume is not easy but if you follow these simple tips, it will make the process a bit smoother.
By: Greg Foutz, Manager – Staffing Services & Recruitment